Skip to comments.Blackwell’s harsh letter fans flames of GOP feud (Ohio)
Posted on 04/30/2004 10:00:51 AM PDT by Deadeye Division
Blackwells harsh letter fans flames of GOP feud
Friday, April 30, 2004
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who expressed outrage earlier this week about a plot by a handful of fellow Republicans to destroy his political career, is raising money for a 2006 gubernatorial bid by bashing several top Ohio GOP leaders.
Gov. Bob Taft, Attorney General Betty D. Montgomery, Auditor Jim Petro, House Speaker Larry Householder and state GOP Chairman Robert T. Bennett all are criticized in a fund-raising letter mailed last month by Blackwell.
"Our leadership is selling our partys positions to the highest bidder," Blackwell wrote in the four-page missive.
Adding that he is running for governor "to restore the distinction between Republicans and Democrats," Blackwell wrote that many leading GOP figures are "espousing policies closer to Dick Celeste, Teddy Kennedy and Bill and Hillary Clinton than Ronald Reagan."
Blackwells prickly money plea adds fuel to a blaze already stoked by the revelation that top Householder aides had prepared a secret 109-page blueprint for an $8.5 million campaign to bolster the speakers political fortunes while at the same time "taking down" Blackwell. Householder, a possible candidate for state auditor in 2006, said the plan was never implemented although Blackwell contends otherwise.
Republican leaders have expressed concerns the intraparty feuding will detract from the campaign to deliver Ohio for President Bush in November.
"Its not helpful to the Republican family when were attacking each other in any forum," said Taft spokesman Orest Holubec. "The governor has said 2006 is a long way off and that our elected officials should be focused on the job they are elected to do and not on advancing their personal ambitions."
Bennett said, "I do expect our statewide officials to set aside personal and political ambitions long enough to accomplish the task at hand, and thats re-electing George Bush."
The longtime GOP chairman said Blackwell was showing a "double standard" with his criticism of the unimplemented Team Householder plan when he had already sent out the strongly worded letter.
"This is some pretty bitter rhetoric, and Im really sad that Ken would sink to this level. This letter is kind of the ultimate hypocrisy, after singing the blues over a hit piece directed at him that never went anyplace," Bennett said.
"Hes willing to knife his own party in the back just to advance his own political career. These are the same people who worked very hard to get him elected."
Blackwell said yesterday there is no "moral equivalency" between his letter and the Team Householder plan.
"Theres nothing in my letter that is duplicitous or intimidating in nature," Blackwell said. "Have I in fact gone hard at policy disagreements? Absolutely . . . This is a hard-fought struggle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party."
In the letter the first under a "Blackwell for Governor" logo Blackwell told potential donors the GOP ascended to its current prominence in Ohio politics because of its conservative philosophy. Republicans occupy all nonjudicial statewide elected slots and hold large majorities in both houses of the legislature.
"However, because Gov. Taft and other statewide and legislative Republican officials are abandoning these positions when it comes to governing, we are in danger of losing everything!" Blackwell wrote.
He wrote that Householder "sold out our principles" by failing to pass legislation limiting lawsuits, even after a pair of "business friendly" justices were elected to the Ohio Supreme Court in 2002. Instead, Householder raised thousands of dollars from trial lawyers as far away as Texas, so "is it any wonder that no tort reform bill has found its way to the governors desk?"
Householder also has stalled efforts to pare Medicaid payments to nursing home owners and expand prevailing wage exemptions on state construction projects, Blackwell wrote.
Householder spokesman Dwight Crum returned Blackwells fire.
"This is typical of the attacks on the speaker and members of the legislature that have been going on for a year," Crum said. "Were still waiting for his (Blackwells) plan to cut spending responsibly without gutting programs for children, without gutting programs for seniors, and still rebuild the economy."
Blackwell ripped Bennett for calling Blackwells petition drive to repeal last years state salestax increase a "publicity stunt."
"The man elected to lead the party of Ronald Reagan in Ohio is publicly ridiculing an effort to lower the taxes of all Ohioans," Blackwell wrote. "The credibility of the Republican Party is called into question when the chairman of the state party says a grass-roots effort to restore fiscal integrity and lower taxes would cripple our economy and cause children to go hungry."
Blackwell pointed to "clear distinctions in policy positions" with his potential rivals for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Neither Montgomery nor Petro supports the sales-tax repeal or Ohios new law allowing most residents to carry concealed weapons. Petro doesnt back the Defense of Marriage Act approved this year, Blackwell wrote.
Full text of Blackwell letter
Friday, April 30, 2004
BLACKWELL for Governor
829 Bethel Road #316, Columbus, Ohio 43214
I was not born a member of the Republican Party. I chose the Republican Party because its core tenets matched my personal philosophy.
Less government spending
Job-creating economic policies
When I chose the Republican Party 23 years ago, Ronald Reagan was President. I, like millions of Americans, admired Ronald Reagan because he was a great leader who stood tall for these principles as the best way to produce economic prosperity and the opportunity for a better life for all Americans.
Campaigning on these positions is the reason Republicans have consistently won in Ohio over the last decade.
However, because Governor Taft and other statewide and legislative Republican officials are abandoning these positions when it comes to governing we are in danger of losing everything!
I will speak more to this point later in this letter and ask you to help me prevent it.
In 1983 and 1984, I worked alongside other Republicans to fight the outrageous income tax hike that Dick Celeste and the Democrats in the General Assembly forced upon us.. Later in the decade, I worked with Jack Kemp to change public policy to empower millions of Americans with the ability to own their home.
During my time as State Treasurer and Secretary of State, I have spoken out about the need to keep taxes low so you could keep more money in your pocket. In 1998, I was the only statewide official to openly fight against an attempt to hike the sales tax. With a grassroots driven effort, we defeated the tax increase 4 to 1 in a statewide vote.
But taxes can't be kept low if spending of your tax dollars isn't kept in check. As Secretary of State I have "walked the walk" by lowering my office's reliance on general fund tax dollars by 64%. At the same time, we have significantly upgraded our customer service and productivity.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Ohio state government as a whole over the last decade. Our state spending has increased 70% over the last 10 years, the highest rate of any state in the nation.
In 2003, the General Assembly passed and our Governor signed the largest tax increase in our state's history to feed their unrestrained spending. They hiked our taxes $3 Billion without a vote of the people, violating their campaign pledge to us - and they did it to fund an 11% increase in spending!
Last summer, after studying the effects of this runaway spending, I said, ''Enough is enough!''
Ohio's "first in the nation" spending title has created havoc with our economy. Jobs are leaving our state at an alarming rate, 118,000 manufacturing jobs last year alone. Young people are going elsewhere to begin their careers and start families. Retirees are taking their lifetime of savings to other states to avoid our suffocating estate and income taxes.
So I began an initiative to repeal the 20% sales tax hike. In approximately 60 days, we collected over 157,000 signatures from Ohioans. It was a record grassroots effort and demonstrated the strong feeling that our government was wrong to increase taxes rather than cut spending.
As you would expect, those who passed this record tax increase to feed out-of-control government spending said our effort would have catastrophic effects on our state.
However, unlike those we fought in 1983 and 1984, this time it is Republicans who are using the Chicken Little rhetoric to defend their actions. Yes, Republicans are saying the state can't survive without the largest tax increase in our history!
Governor Taft promised the voters in 2002 that there would not be a broad-based tax increase without a vote of the people. I believed him and campaigned with and for him. Now he is being openly critical of my efforts.
The Ohio Republican Party Chairman called our repeal effort a :publicity stunt. The man elected to lead the party of Ronald Reagan in Ohio is publicly ridiculing an effort to lower the taxes of all Ohioans.
In fact, my actions are consistent with my long-held views and the platform of the Republican Party. I am standing up for our Party's principles.
To fight our effort, Governor Taft went to the public employee unions and asked them for help. I was shocked and dismayed when I read about his actions in the notes from the December 2003 Executive Committee meeting of the Ohio Education Association.
The person you and I supported to be the standard bearer for the Republican Party in Ohio was asking a group that gives 90% of its political contributions to the Democrat Party to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to prevent our effort to end this outrageous tax hike.
Those who are fighting our tax repeal effort are calling me an outsider. Leaders of our Party say l am not a team player.
I am writing you today to say if being a part of the inner circle means abandoning my conservative principles and the platform of the Republican Party then I will not do it!
Let me give you another vivid example of where some of our elected leaders have sold out our principles.
In 2002, millions of dollars were raised to elect an Ohio Supreme Court that would be more "business friendly." We had seen enough of what a Court bought by trial lawyers was like.
Well, we won both of the Supreme Court races. But let me tell you the rest of the story.
At the same time Speaker Larry Householder and others were saying they would pass tort reform if we elected Supreme Court candidates who would uphold the law, the Speaker was raising thousands upon thousands of dollars from trial lawyers from as far away as Dallas, Texas.
In fact, in 2002 the trial lawyers gave more to Republicans than Democrats.
Is it any wonder that no Tort Reform bill has found its way to the Governor's desk?
The same story can be told regarding the effort to expand prevailing wage exemptions for state construction projects and to reform Medicaid reimbursement to nursing home owners. These two items alone would save our state budget hundreds of millions of dollars each year!
Our leadership is selling our Party's positions to the highest bidder.
Let me (sic) perfectly clear on one point. I am in fact running for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2OO6. I am doing so because I have the ability to lead our state.
I am also running to restore the distinction between Republicans and Democrats. Presently, as the examples cited above clearly show, there is no distinction.
There are clear distinctions in policy positions among my potential 2006 gubernatorial primary competitors, Betty Montgomery and Jim Petro, and me.
Neither Betty Montgomery nor Jim Petro support the 20 % sales tax repeal initiative.
Neither Betty Montgomery nor Jim Petro would have signed the recently passed bill allowing for the carrying of concealed weapons.
Jim Petro doesn't support the Defense of Marriage Act passed by the General Assembly.
I know that you have generously given of your funds to elect me and other Republicans to statewide office and the majorities in the legislature. But you don't want this type of leadership.
You want the type of leadership we got from Ronald Reagan and are getting from George W. Bush who didn't forget his campaign promise to cut taxes, not raise them.
The rest of the Ohio Republican leadership is espousing policies closer to Dick Celeste, Teddy Kennedy and Bill and Hillary Clinton than Ronald Reagan.
The credibility of the Republican Party is called into question when the Chairman of the State Party says a grassroots effort to restore fiscal integrity and lower taxes would cripple our economy and cause children to go hungry.
In fact, I have already laid out a specific plan to rein in spending that won't cause chaos.
It is a sad day for our Republican Party when our elected Governor goes to the public employee unions and pleads with them to help him keep the largest tax increase in Ohio history.
The Republican Party I want to lead as our next Governor stands strong and firm for its fundamental beliefs. I will never ask those groups that make up the core of the Democrat Party to attack fellow Republicans who are acting like true Republicans.
It is time for a change. Please join me in my campaign to be Ohio's next Governor. I need your ideas, your energy and, of course, your financial support.
Your generous maximum contribution of $2.500 would be greatly appreciated.. If you can only give $1,500, $1,000, $500, $250 or $100 now, that would be equally welcome. Your personal check should be made payable to Ohioans for Ken Blackwell.
Additionally, I want to invite you to serve on my campaign team to advise me on the best economic policies to bring Ohio back to greatness. You have ideas that will stop the flow of jobs and young people from our state. I want to hear them. If you would like to serve, please indicate so on the response form.
You may also go to my website, www.kenblackwell.com to make a contribution and join my economic advisory team.
The Republican Party must stand up for our beliefs. We must return to our core principles of reducing taxes, lower spending and creating jobs to provide for prosperity. Millions of dollars will have been wasted unless we elect a leader in 2006 who is true to our Party and his campaign promises.
I want to be that leader. I hope I have earned your support.
Thank you for your time and willingness to read this letter.
J. Kenneth Blackwell
P.S. Over 5,000 people were involved in collecting 157, 482 signatures in just 60 days to repeal the sales tax increase. It was the largest grassroots effort in Ohio history and showed just how mad the voters are. Thousands of people will stay home and not vote in 2004 and 2006 unless we show them we are truly the Party of lower taxes and less government. Please join my team today with your most generous contribution and active involvement.
WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH, HE called me a RINO ping....lol
WHAM!you hit the nail on the head.Blackwell is a guy that gets my vote.
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